Carlos Sainz claims Ferrari’s underlying pace was “not great” on Friday at the British Grand Prix despite wounding up second in FP2.

After being classified seventh in the opening hour of running, Sainz propped himself up the order to end up only 0.022s shy of Max Verstappen who led the way for Red Bull.

Although the Spaniard was encouraged by a series of positive set-up alterations made on his side of the garage between the two sessions, Sainz believes his promising lap time flattered Ferrari’s true speed.

“It was quite a tricky day out there, with the wind and trying to get used to the conditions,” he explained afterwards.

“On the car, around this track, it’s tricky but we actually did a pretty good step forward from FP1 to FP2, trying different set-ups, trying different directions to go to, to try and improve the car in these conditions.

“It looks like it worked but so far the absolute pace is not great, so we still need to keep working on it.

While severe tyre degradation troubles had continuously stymied Ferrari’s Sunday prospects earlier on in the season, the Italian outfit has appeared to get a handle on its race-day issues in recent rounds.

However, Sainz asserts that the high-speed Silverstone circuit exposed that particular weakness of its SF-23 car on Friday, providing the team with work to do overnight.

“We are definitively trying to work around it [tyre degradation], because we know that’s going to be our main weakness this weekend, so we are pushing hard to see what we can do to manage them better, because there are some teams that are doing a much better job than usual.

“For example, Red Bull is doing a much better job, Mercedes too, so although we are in P2 we know there’s some more work to do overnight.”

Looking ahead to qualifying tomorrow, Sainz is remaining optimistic that Ferrari can translate its competitive form over a single lap to be in the fight against Red Bull.

“Qualifying could be slippery, it could still be good, I don’t know if it will be like in Austria or not, Red Bull are still favourites, but we could be good,” he analysed.

“The race is going to be more tricky, but in qualifying it will also depend on the conditions, if it’s dry or wet. I think it’s going to be fun in another typical British Saturday.”

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23. 07.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England, Practice Day

With rain potentially on the horizon, Sainz, who claimed his maiden pole position at Silverstone last year in wet conditions, says he would welcome the prospect of a few showers to potentially mix things up.

The 28-year-old also ran well in the wet last Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, clawing his way through to claim his first top-three race finish of the year in the Sprint.

“I’m ready for it [the rain],” he addressed. “Whatever come, it comes.

“I love driving in the wet, like you know, and I think we saw that in those conditions recently. Whatever it comes, it comes, and I will enjoy it.”

Meanwhile, it was a nightmare end to the day for Charles Leclerc in the sister Ferrari, whose participation in FP2 was denied by an electrical issue on his car.

Sainz admits his team-mate’s complete absence from the session was a hindrance to the Maranello squad’s Friday run plan and concedes the forecast of rain could dent his chances of recovering the lost track time.

“We share everything, as always, but it’s true that it would have been nice to work with different tyres on the long runs, check a little bit the pace to see the different management styles, and driving styles too, seeing who could manage the tyres better, but unfortunately this is what happened.

“Now, I’m sure Charles will try to recover the time tomorrow, but it’s also likely it will rain.”

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